Went to the Crystal Lake High School Board’s meetings Tuesday night.
The Finance Committee spent most of its time listening to a presentation from its insurance consultant Wendy Williams.
A new high deductible option is being introduced this year and to make it more attractive those who sign up will get $1,500, if an individual, and $3,000 per family for Health Savings Accounts.
While some private firms have seen 30% of their employees sign up, Williams predicted the school district would see 5-7% participation.
The proposal was approved by the committee and the following Board meeting, but those at the Board meeting would really have no idea what the proposal entailed.
In summary, the District will save about $1 million under the new self-funded insurance plan.
Assistant Superintendent for Finance Jeff Davis reported that the State only owes $368,000, being only one month behind in its payments.
He said the state sends about $14 million a year.
There were no bids for Haber Oaks at the price minimum of $700,000.
The most interesting part of the meeting was a presentation by Board member Ron Ludwig.
There were two subjects.
The first concerned what he said was the undercompensation of Teachers on Special Assignment, specifically as Deans in training.
He claimed they deserved about $50,000 more and would be lured away by other districts when they really wanted to stay with District 155.
Finance Committee Chairman Jason Blake asked for the names of the individuals.
One was Ryan Ludwig.
The second subject concerned the lack of a plan to pay for $50 million in needed capital improvements.
Ludwig had it written out and I have asked for a copy to share with readers.
The Board increased the tax levy last year, despite citizen opposition, and took $13 million for capital improvement money out of savings.
Ludwig wondered where the remaining millions would come from.
He asked that the subject be discussed at the next Finance Committee meeting.
Then, he revealed that the Crystal Lake Grade School District, having paid off a twenty-year bond was not going to pass the savings on to the taxpayers, but was planning “just roll them over.”
Apparently, the District 47 Board is going to use a “back-door referendum” technique to borrow more money.
This is what I would consider an underhanded method to keep taxes high.
The strategy is usually for a Board to approve issuance of millions in bonds with the stipulation that citizens would have the opportunity to pass petitions calling for a referendum.
Typically, such petition signatures must be gathered within thirty days in the dead of winter.
Boards that use this technique truly are thumbing their noses at their taxpayers.
Back to the District 155 discussion, long-time Board member Dave Secrest explained that the District had not had a 10-year plan in a long time.
Ludwig figured that the Board had to come up with $5 million a year for ten years to finance the $50 in capital needs.
“There’s nothing new here,” he said.
“I’m perplexed as to what the issue is”